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What is dermaplaning, and why should you try it?

Shaving your face is more common than you might think.
Woman touching her face and looking in the mirror after getting dermaplaning
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/ Source: TODAY

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It might be time to trade in the high-tech cleansing device for the latest trend in physical exfoliation: a razor (aka a dermaplaning tool).

You can thank celebrities and facialists like Huda Kattan and Kate Somerville for crushing the taboo topic of female face shaving just a few years ago when Kattan shared a how-to dermaplaning video and Somerville spilled her secret in a New York Times article. Since then, dermaplaning has become a must-have tool for many celebrity estheticians and makeup artists, and new at-home devices make dermaplaning even more accessible.

What is dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning is the act of shaving your face with a single blade that resembles a scalpel to help remove dead skin cells and peach fuzz.

How much does dermaplaning cost?

If done by a dermatologist or esthetician, this type of treatment can sometimes cost up to $250. An at-home dermaplaning tool can cost only a couple of dollars and includes a less-sharp blade, but needs to be done more regularly to maintain results. And don't make the mistake of thinking a regular shaving razor can do the same job. A typical razor includes three-to-four slanted blades to remove body hair, while a dermaplaning tool uses a single-edge blade to get closer to the skin for optimal exfoliation.

What are the benefits of dermaplaning?

“Taking off the top layer of dead skin cells helps skin care products absorb better and procedures work better,” says Purvisha Patel, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare. “It also tricks the skin into thinking it’s wounded and boosts collagen production, helping decrease fine lines and wrinkles.”

It prevents acne from forming, too. “By removing the top layer of dead skin cells, dermaplaning prevents oils, dead skin and debris from being trapped inside the follicle,” says Kerry Benjamin, esthetician and founder of StackedSkincare.

Dermaplaning can also serve as a primer for makeup as it allows foundation to look more like your skin, rather than it sitting on top of your dead skin and peach fuzz.

“Makeup goes on smoother [when dermaplaning], and you end up using less complexion products like foundation, concealer and powder because they work more effectively on smooth, exfoliated skin,” says Sarah Lucero, makeup artist and Stila Global Executive Director of Creative Artistry. “Dry patches and layers of dull skin can build up and interfere with makeup application.”

Plus, “[peach-fuzz] can be slightly tinted, which can cause a dingy cast onto skin, especially around the hairline, ears and chin,” says celebrity makeup artist Mickey Williams. “Once that’s removed, the skin looks more luminous and glowy because it’s more even-toned.”

What are the dermaplaning side effects?

“Will dermaplaning make me grow a beard?” This is a common question when speaking about female face-shaving, and the answer is no.

“The hair on a woman’s face is called vellus hair (a.k.a peach fuzz) and is soft and fine,” explains Dara Levy, founder of Dermaflash. “The hair on a man’s face is called terminal hair and each piece is like a strand of copper wire. [Dermaplaning] removes the fuzz just above the surface of the skin and does not (and cannot) impact the growth, color or texture of a woman’s facial hair,” says Levy. Hormones and hormonal conditions (like PCOS) are the only things that can affect hair growth.

What are the risks of dermaplaning?

Nicking your face with a dermaplaning tool is possible, but unlikely (especially if it has blade guards). If you have cystic acne with active pustules, avoid dermaplaning. “Those with active acne or open sores should not use the device until the pimples or elevated marks have calmed down,” says Levy.

People with inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, should also skip the process says Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology.

Since dermaplaning creates micro-cuts on the surface of the skin, opt for more gentle skincare products post-treatment. “Avoid products containing acids, retinol and benzoyl peroxide until the skin has healed (3-4 days), as they will irritate the skin,” says Patel.

Finally, sunblock is important after a dermaplaning treatment. “Sunblock application is a must since you are exposing newly-exfoliated skin, as this skin is easily damaged by UV light,” says board-certified dermatologist and celebrity beauty expert, Dr. Anna Guanche.

The best dermaplaning tools and razors

1. Tinkle Dorco Eyebrow or Face Hair Removal Safety Razors

Dr. Kanchanapoomi Levin recommends these razors, which can be used for dermaplaning or brow shaping. One TODAY writer who has been using the tool for years says she loves that they're both affordable and easy to use.

2. Michael Todd Beauty Sonicsmooth Sonic Dermaplaning Tool

Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a New York City-based dermatologist, likes this device which has a safety blade to prevent cuts. "It uses low-level vibrational technology along with the exfoliation, which is thought to stimulate collagen to strengthen the foundation of the skin itself," he says.

3. Dermaflash Sonic Dermaplaning Tool

Lucero uses this portable, vibrating Dermaflash, saying it "comes in handy when [she's] on the go or getting clients ready for the red carpet and on photo shoots."

4. Sephora Collection Level Setter Razors

For a cheaper alternative, Dr. Patel loves the disposable Sephora Collection Level Setter Razors.

5. Tweezerman Bright Complexion Facial Dermaplaner

Dr. Patel also recommends the Tweezerman Bright Complexion Dermaplaner "because it has safety handles, but won't be as sharp as in-office blades."

6. StackedSkincare Dermaplaning Tool

Dr. Guanche recommends the StackedSkincare Dermablading because it "can easily be used at a 45-degree angle to remove unwanted hair and dead skin cells, leaving the skin fresh." It also has refillable heads to cut down on waste.

7. Schick Hydro Silk Touch-Up Dermaplaning Tool

Both TODAY Style contributor Bobbie Thomas and Dr. Kanchanapoomi Levin recommend these razors to clean and reshape overgrown eyebrows or to gently exfoliate the skin. Their portable size makes them perfect for on-the-go touch ups at any moment.

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